This week I received in the mail a catalog so comically at odds with my interests, lifestyle, and financial status that it makes me wonder why I received it at all. Why me? Why not the wife of some powerful business magnate? How on earth did I get on their mailing list?
Titled "An Afternoon at Gump's; or, the Expedient Excursion," it featured a selection of jewelry and high-end gewgaws arranged in a loosely poetic alphabet theme (i.e. "A is for amethyst hostessing pieces; B is for ballerinas for each of her nieces") as told by a (presumably rich) shopper named Ann. For those of you unfamiliar with the store's name because you live on a modest homestead deep in the country, Gump's is "a luxury American home furnishings and home décor retailer" out of San Francisco. Now you know.
Well, seldom has a catalog offered more slapstick humor than this. While I sat at the kitchen table and shelled beans, Don leafed through the pages and read out loud select offerings. We laughed until we cried.
This is "Ann."
Notice the golden bangle on her wrist. For those of us who are rubes, it's a Loren Nicole "Horus Will be King" Repoussé cuff, handcrafted, 22-karat yellow gold, for a trifling $40,000.
It's also butt-ugly.
"Ann" begins her shopping as follows: "Ann had a Christmas list, daunting at best. Fortunately she was famously blessed. With an uncanny knack for the charmingly apt, treasures worth cherishing, perfectly wrapped." (Note to Gump's: Ann could use a few lessons in poetic composition.)
Consider a few treasures Ann found:
Under "B" (for "ballerinas for each of her nieces"), we find "Mints and Mills Nutcracker mice." Don't you think these look like they were assembled by kindergartners?
And they can be yours for only $995. That's apiece, of course.
How about this elegant silver vase? (You'd better pronounce that "vaz" not "vace," you cretin.) This is for mumsy. ("E is for elegant vase for her mother...")
This will only set you back $6,000. But isn't mumsy worth it?
Next, Ann buys what looks like glass beads for her friend Jean ("H is for hand-hammered necklace for Jean..."). Jean must be a good friend to Ann, since this Lilly Fitzgerald tanzanite necklace with mother-of-pearl and 22-karat yellow gold is a hefty $24,500. But honestly, doesn't it look like glass beads?
Here's another "vaz." For this pile of white dog doo-doo (Don's description, not mine), Ann only has to fork over $1950. A bargain.
But let's not forget poor Ann, who has exhausted herself shopping for loved ones. Fortunately, "As a reward for Ann's skill as an elf, a rare yellow diamond she'll get for herself."
This bit of glitter is a frugal $140,000. Can you see me wearing this while weeding the garden or mucking out the barn?
Tallied up, every gewgaw in this catalog came to a grand total of $602,841. If I followed the same shopping habits as Ann, I could either buy a generous farm with a large home and all kinds of infrastructure, or I could buy a handful of jewelry and silver vases. Hmmm, decisions decisions.....
But I'm very glad Gump's sent me this catalog, since we certainly enjoyed it.
I do have one thing in common with Ann, though. I, too, am "famously blessed."